Despite crores of rupees pumped into promotion of awareness about AIDS, the dreaded disease continues to take its toll particularly among migrant labourers due to ignorance or negligence. While the diseases claims their lives, their children and parents have to lead a life of uncertainty and insecurity.
A large number of youths of the coastal district of Kendrapara migrates to major cities for livelihood. Their families back home lead a secured life with the money sent by them. But, when they return home, they are already afflicted with AIDS due to unsafe sex practices and pass it on to their wives.
The family of Basanta Nayak (name changed) of Patarapur village is one among them. During his six-year stay working as a plumber in Mumbai, Basant contacted AIDS. He returned home three years back and his wife Gita (name changed) was affected with AIDS as Basant concealed the deadly disease from his wife.
Basanta died two years back and his wife passed away this year. Their two minor daughters are now living with their grandfather.
Mahadev Nayak, the septuagenarian father of Basant is now a worried man and curses his fate. “At this age, I have to look after my grand-daughters as the cruel fate snatched away their parents,” said a forlorn Mahadev.
Like Basant, 111 others have died due to AIDS in the last 10 years in the district.
Most of the affected persons are from weaker sections including drivers, plumbers and labourers, said Biraja Pati, a social worker.
According to the Debendra Kumar Rout, the Councillor of Integrated Counselling Testing Centre (ICDC) of district AIDS Cell the district has 614 HIV/AIDS affected persons. Most of them worked in Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi and other parts of the country.
There are also 20 HIV affected children in the district.